With all the choices out there, deciding which binocular, spotting scope or riflscope meets your needs can be downright overwhelming. It doesn't need to be. Spending a little time learning about the features found in quality binoculars can help you compare products with confidence.

First, you will want to make sure the product you choose offers the best optical performance and features for a price you can afford. After all, optical products are a long-term investment, and it only makes sense to make sure you are getting your money's worth. By taking the time to learn about Kruger Optical's products, you are taking a smart first step in finding a product with optimal value.

It also makes sense to look at products designed for the activities you do most. For example, marine binoculars are generally waterproof and made with large objective lenses for maximum light-gathering on the water, while binoculars for wilderness enthusiasts are often extra sturdy and lightweight.

Magnification: The first number in a product's model description describes its magnification. For instance, a 7x50 binocular magnifies objects 7 times. Magnification is sometimes referred to as "power," as in "7-power." For "zoom" style products, magnification is expressed as a range. For example, a 15-45x60 spotting scope magnifies objects to appear from 15 to 45 times larger than when viewed with a naked eye. Ideal magnification depends on the activity. Higher magnification can make an image tend to "jump around," and may require a tri-pod for stability. Higher magnification also results in a smaller field of view. Often, products that are intended for use in a moving environment such as a boat have relatively low magnification (which is why marine binoculars typically are 7-power). Products for activities such as bird watching, where a tri-pod can be used, often have higher power (typically 10-power for binoculars). Consumers should carefully consider which factors are most important to them when choosing their preferred magnification.

Objective size: The second number in the model description refers to the size of the objective lens (the large lens farthest from the eye), expressed in millimeters. For instance, a 7x50 binocular has a 50mm objective. Large objectives gather more light than small ones, and the image from a large objective tends to be easier to view. On the other hand, a small objective makes a product more compact.

Optical coatings and light transmission: All high quality optical products receive coatings to reduce the amount of light that is reflected away from the user and to increase light transmission. Quality optical coatings distinguish higher-end products because they greatly improve the brightness and clarity of the image you see. Coatings are an important factor determining the price of a product, as well as performance. Coating types include:

C-Coated optics. Single layer coating on at least the outside lenses. Visible system transmission: 65-75%

FC-Fully coated optics. Single layer coating on all lens and prism surfaces. Visible system transmission: 70-80%.

MC?Multi-coated optics. Multiple coating layers on all external surfaces; single layer on internal surfaces. Visible system transmission: 75-85%.

FMC?Fully multi-coated optics. Multiple coating layers on all surfaces. Visible system transmission: 80-90%.

BBAR?Broadband multi-layer coating. All surfaces receive high performance multi-layer coating. Visible system transmission: 85-93%.

Optical glass: Lenses and prisms made from high quality optical glass deliver better image sharpness than lower-grade glass. Prisms made from BaK-4 glass are considered best for image brightness. BK-7 prisms also perform well.

Prism types: Modern binoculars contain prisms to correct image orientation; without them, objects would appear upside down. Most binoculars are made with either porro prisms or roof prisms. Porro prisms give binoculars their traditional offset shape, with the objective lenses set wider than the eyepieces. Roof prisms give binoculars a straight appearance, with parallel barrels. Porro prisms usually offer the best optics for the price, but they can be heavy and bulky. Roof prisms have a more compact, streamlined shape. Often, prism style is a matter of personal preference.

Eye relief: Eye relief refers to the distance between the eyepiece and the spot where the full image is most comfortably viewed (where your eyes go). Customers who want to use their products while wearing eyeglasses (or sunglasses) should look for long eye relief (at least 16mm).

Eyecups: Many binoculars are equipped with either fold-down rubber eyecups or twist-up eyecups, so they can be comfortably used with or without eyeglasses.

Waterproofing: Products intended for outdoor or marine use are often water resistant or waterproof. Waterproof products are O-ring sealed and filled with dry nitrogen or argon to prevent fogging. Waterproof products are made to withstand prolonged submersion. Water resistant products are designed to withstand wet weather, but not submersion.

Shock proofing: Shockproof products have been ruggedized to survive being dropped or, in the case of a riflescope, to hold a point of aim after rifle discharge.

Field of view: Field of view can be measured in degrees or as a number of feet that can be seen at 1,000 yards. Lower magnification products usually have larger fields of view. Some products are specially designed to have a wide field of view.

Close focus: Close focus refers to how close an object can be while still remaining in focus. Being able to focus on nearby objects is important for such activities as bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Windage and elevation: These adjustments pivot a riflescope's erector system to place the reticle in line with the bullet impact point. Adjustments are typically in ? minute intervals or ?" at 100 yards.

Other factors: Optics products should be rugged enough to withstand their intended use. Products should also look good and feel comfortable with prolonged use. Rubber armor housing helps prevent heat transfer, making products comfortable to handle in cold conditions. Quality binoculars have diopter adjustments, so users can adjust for vision differences between their two eyes.

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Kruger Optical, Inc.
6955 SW Sandburg St.
Tigard, OR 97223
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